Closure of the entanglement gap at quantum criticality: The case of the quantum spherical model

Sascha Wald, Raul Arias, Vincenzo Alba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of entanglement spectra is a powerful tool to detect or elucidate universal behaviour in quantum many-body systems. We investigate the scaling of the entanglement (or Schmidt) gap $\delta\xi$, i.e., the lowest laying gap of the entanglement spectrum, at a two-dimensional quantum critical point. We focus on the paradigmatic quantum spherical model, which exhibits a second-order transition, and is mappable to free bosons with an additional external constraint. We analytically show that the Schmidt gap vanishes at the critical point, although only logarithmically. For a system on a torus and the half-system bipartition, the entanglement gap vanishes as $\pi^2/\ln(L)$, with $L$ the linear system size. The entanglement gap is nonzero in the paramagnetic phase and exhibits a faster decay in the ordered phase. The rescaled gap $\delta\xi\ln(L)$ exhibits a crossing for different system sizes at the transition, although logarithmic corrections prevent a precise verification of the finite-size scaling. Interestingly, the change of the entanglement gap across the phase diagram is reflected in the zero-mode eigenvector of the spin-spin correlator. At the transition quantum fluctuations give rise to a non-trivial structure of the eigenvector, whereas in the ordered phase it is flat. We also show that the vanishing of the entanglement gap at criticality can be qualitatively but not quantitatively captured by neglecting the structure of the zero-mode eigenvector.
Original languageEnglish
Article number043404
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalPhysical Review Research
Issue number4
Early online date22 Dec 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article’s title, journal citation, and DOI. Open access publication funded by the Max Planck Society.


  • cond-mat.stat-mech
  • cond-mat.str-el
  • hep-th
  • quant-ph

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